Alan Smithee

Bakuman。Volume 1 (iPad) – Review

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What happens when the creators of Death Note create a series that could be argued as one of the finest works of meta in the manga universe? You get Bakuman, easily one of the most inspiring manga I’ve ever read.

Takeshi Obata and Tsugumi Ohba started this series in 2008 and as of me writing this review have already surpassed the 120 chapter mark that tells me that this bit of slice of life manga will be around for some time to come.

I’ve been reading this series on my iPad through the VIZ Media application and thankfully they’ve been really quick in making sure that we get fresh volumes of this series.

This manga is centered around budding young artist Moritaka Mashiro and his partner in creating manga, Akito Takagi who handles all of the writing duties. These two guys meet by chance after Mashiro mistakenly leaves behind an art book in which he had been obsessing over his fellow classmate Miho Azuki. Takagi confronts him about his artwork and confesses that he has always wanted to create manga and wants Mashiro to be his partner. Did I mention that these guys are in the 9th grade?

Mashiro is hesitant at first to become a mangaka (creator of manga) mainly because of his uncle who died of overwork as a manga artist and writer, but soon finds his inspiration after confessing his admiration to Azuki.

The two young gentlemen then set off to begin their adventure of becoming mangaka. They’re given Mashiro’s Uncle’s unused art studio complete with reference material and all the tools needed to write and draw a series…except the most important bit, a good premise.

This series has not only been extremely entertaining so far, but it has also been increasingly educational and inspirational to me. It shows how the manga business works including the ins and outs of how a series is picked, drawn, rated, and so much more. I never had a clue that the industry that draws multiple millions of people reading it each week and month was this complex.

The inspiration comes from the story of two young guys trying to live their dream and create something from nothing with only their hard work and luck. I’m not a young guy anymore, but I feel myself cheering these guys on while reading the volumes and also find their enthusiasm and ‘ganbatte!’ attitude toward achieving their goals to be severely uplifting when working on this site.

This series’s story has already captured my complete attention seeing how I’ve bought the next two volumes and have finished them in just the last two days…Bakuman is a addictive page turner that never becomes predictable. If you would have told me a few weeks ago that I’d be obsessing over a manga about guys creating manga, I would have called you a liar. But I’m so glad that I took that chance and picked up the first volume.

STORY: 92%
ART: 96%

The artwork is nothing short of gorgeous. Takeshi Obata seems to have a knack for creating some of the most memorable characters I’ve ever seen, especially when the pair go to meet with their editor at Weekly Shonen Jump in the Shueisha building. Trust me, you’ll laugh when you finally get to meet him.

Overall, the book is great if you’re a fan of manga in general and always wanted to know more about the business end of it. I can’t say there’s a ton of action or battles like you’d expect from many Shonen Jump series, but what you get in return is a great slice-of-life drama, peppered with a bit of romance, and some outlandish comedy thrown in to the mix just to balance it out.

Get the Viz iPad App right now, or head to your local bookstore today to get this wonderful series added to your collection. Volumes 1-4 are currently available at $9.99 each for the print versions or $4.99 for the digital copies.

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